Gaden Jangtse


Gaden Jangtse Thoesam Noring College was founded by a direct disciple of Je Tsongkhapa named Horton Namkha Palsang. He was one of the 10 Lamps illuminating the Buddha’s teaching in Central Tibet and the master of the Ear-Whispered Transmission of JeTsongkhapa’s teachings. He had many students such as the first Dalai Lama Gedun Drub, Sherab Senge and many other learned scholars who are considered crown jewels among the numerous scholars in Silden Jong.

Horton Namkha Palsang, also known as one of the two Lamps illuminating Tseshar’s teachings, took charge of the monastery after Gyaltsab Je. He built Jangtse Khang on top of a mountain located on the north side of Je Tsong-khapa’s private abode named Sunshine Cave. Due to the extensive teachings taught there, the monastery was named Jangtse Monastery (Monastery on the Northern Summit). The monastery was also known as Je’s Kukhor Monastery (Monastery of Je Tsongkhapa’s Attendants), Sangdue Monastery (Guhyasama-ja Monastery) and Uma Monastery (Madhyamika Monastery due to its tradition of studying Madhyamika and other treatises for 12 years. When the 30th Gaden Tripa His Eminence Je Taklung Dakpa Lode Gyatso appointed Je Tsul-trim Choephel as the abbot of the monastery, “Thoesam Ling” was added to the name. During that period, the teachings of Jangtse Monastery flourished far and wide. After Gyaltsab Choeje was appointed as the master of Jangtse and took charge of the monastery, his successors came to be known as Jangtse Choeje. The positions of Jangtse Choeje and the abbot of the monastery were initially held by the same person but they became two separate positions from the time of the 32nd Gaden Tripa Je Tsultrim Choephel. According to Thuken’s Tenets, and Sumba’s Religious History of Jangtse Mon-astery, Horton Namkha Palwa would succeed Gyaltsab Rinpoche, the first abbot of Gaden Jangtse monastery. The history of the great monasteries of Central Tibet follows: After Gyaltsab Je, Horton Namkha Palsang, the direct disciple of Je Tsongkhapa born in Mardo and the teacher of Sherseng, Gedup would become the second abbot of Gaden Jangtse monastery and there have been 78 lineage gurus in the monastery.


Buxar Choegar –the First Monastery Complex Established after Exile On 17 March 1959 (17th day of the second month of the Tibetan Earth-Pig Year), His Holiness the Dalai Lama, along with many Tibetan followers, left Tibet to seek asylum in India after the unforgettable political tragedy. Among them were the then abbot His Eminence Yeshi Gawa and a few hundred monks from the monastery. His Holiness the Dalai Lama requested the Indian government and a few high officials a place to build a new academy for non-sectarian religious studies as it was important to preserve the Tibetan religion and culture.

The monastery complex called Buxar Thoesam Thardoling was established in Buxar under the guidance and blessings of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Abbot His Eminence Yeshi Gawa and more than 200 monks overcame immense hardships and challenges to restore and preserve Je songkhapa’s teachings and in particular the monastery’s distinctive teachings and ritual traditions.


Relocation from Buxar Choegar to South India

As the monks encountered a lot of difficulties due to the unsuitability of the environment and weather in Buxar, His Holiness the Dalai Lama made a request to the Indian government again about 10 years later. Under the guidance of His Holiness and the Tibetan government, a project to relocate the monks from Buxar to South India was initiated in 1969. Abbot Jetsun Tsultrim Choephel and about 173 monks relocated to the Tibetan Settlement in Mundgod, South India in January 1970. Since then, due to the blessings and kindness of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, all the unique teachings and ritual traditions of the monastery have been revived, preserved and flourished.


The Number and Origin of Monks


The majority of the monks are from Tibet, Tibetan settlements in India, the Himalayan regions such as Mon, Ladakh, Spiti, Kinnaur, Gasha; and Nepal, Bhu-tan. There are also a few monks from other countries. At the time of relocation from Buxar to South India, there were 173 monks. With the admission of new monks annually, the total number of monks on the monastery directory is more than 3,700 (including those who left or passed away). Excluding the newly admitted monks in 2022, the monastery currently has approximately 1,750 monks.


Monastic Curriculum


The main subjects and texts used at Gaden Jangtse Monastery are the sutras and tantras of Buddha, the commentaries written by Indian scholars, works by Tsongkhapa and his two disciples (Gyaltsab Je and Khedrup Je), and works by Jetsun Choekyi Gyaltsen, Khechok Jampa Tashi and Khedup Jinpa Dhargye.
The other main texts used are Je Gedun Drup’s Vinaya Jewel Garland, Tsona-wa’s extensive commentary on Vinaya, Penchen Delek Nyma’s Vinaya, Chim’s commentary on Abhidharmakosha, Je Gedun Drup’s commentary on Abhid-harmakosha, Dungchen Ngodo’s commentary on Abhidharmakosha, Gomde Namkha Gyaltsen’s General Meaning of Madhyamaka, Nyalton’s commentary on The Essence of True Eloquence, Tanaka Gedun Lobsang’s commentary on Valid Cognition, and Collected Topics of Rate and Yongzin.


Duration of Study


A student monk who joins the monastery’s school registered under the Indian government has five years in the elementary class which means to the fourth standard, followed by another four years on the Collected Topics (including one year of Pramana is studied), and then six years on Prajnaparamita, three years on Madhyamika, two years on Abhidharmakosha, three years on Vinaya, and six years in the Great Geluk Examination. If instead of enrolling in the monastery’s school, one begins with the study on the Collected Topics, he will spend three years on the Collected Topics and one year on Prajnaparamita. The rest of the study after Prajnaparamita is the same as stated above. After completing the studies and receiving the geshe degree, the monks go to Gyutoe or Gyumed Tantric Colleges to further their studies in tantra for a year. Thereafter they continue to study tantra for another three years in the monastery and sit for the tantric examinations.


Attaining the Geshe Title


After completing 17 years of studies from the preliminary class to the final class on Vinaya, the advanced students sit for the Great Geluk Exams. Once they have completed the six years of Great Geluk Exams, they receive the Geshe Lharampa degree and are awarded the Geshe Lharampa title. Those who do not sit and complete the Great Geluk Exams are awarded the titles of Geshe Tsokrampa after graduating from the monastic college. Some are awarded the title of Lingse Geshe or Dohram Geshe before becoming Geshe Lharampa. On the 18th day of the seventh Tibetan calendar month, during the summer retreat, the geshes who do not go to Gyutoe or Gyumed Tantric Colleges posit their tantric theses (tantric “dhamcha”) according to their seniority and are awarded the Geshe Ngagram degree. As a preliminary to receiving a geshe degree and title, one has to recite the Rabjam Commentary and participate in the dhamcha at Lingse or Dorampa. After receiving the geshe degree, some monks go back to Tibet to propagate the Buddha’s teachings. The majority remain at the monastery to give discourses or Dharma teachings to hundreds of monks. They uphold the “victory banner” of study and practice through listening and contemplation. Some devote their whole lives to spiritual practices by going to remote retreat places to strive on the “wheel of concentration”. A few exert efforts in the “wheel of action” to serve the Tibetan government, institutions and monastery. There are also many who take on the responsibility to propagate the Dharma in other parts of India and in other countries such as Nepal and Bhutan.


Overview of Prayer and Ritual Events


On the 22nd day of the first Tibetan calendar month, all the monks of the monastery gather at the assembly hall to perform the 4-day Gaden Drupchoe Chen-mo. The establishment of the tradition of Gaden Drupchoe Chemo was one of the four great deeds by Je Tsongkhapa. The Drupchoe Chenmo held at the monastery includes the construction of Guhyasamaja’s sand mandala and the concluding fire offering pujas. In addition, two-day Kangso Chemo prayers (a supplication and offering prayer to the Dharma protector) and The Long-Life Torma and Sadhana Practice of Lhamo are performed in certain Dharma ses-sions; Duesang prayers are held on the 8th, 10th, 14th, 15th, 19th and 25th day of certain months; and Gyenjuk Duesang (recitation of Maitreya’s Ornament of Clear Realization and Chandrakirti’s Entering the Middle Way) takes place on certain auspicious days. Three days of the Great Consecration Ceremony known as Rabne Gelek Charbeb are held on Lhabab Duechen (the day commemorating Buddha’s descent from heaven which falls in the ninth month of the Tibetan calendar). In addition to the Tara Rituals and Offerings to the Sixteen Elderly Arhats performed on the 8th and 15th day of the Tibetan calendar month respectively, monthly prayers are held at the monastery and the khangtsens for the well-being of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the success of Tibet’s religious and secular affairs.


Important Rituals and Events


Throughout the Year.During the first Tibetan calendar month, Losar (new year) celebrations are held to mark the start of the Tibetan new year, followed by ten days of the Great Mon-lam festival starting on the 7th day. The four-day Gaden Taktse Drupchoe begins on the 22nd day. After that, Drupchoe relating to Guhyasamaja, Vajrapani Mahachakra, Vajradhatu, Vairocana Abhisambodhi and Aksobhya take place at the respective designated-khangtsens.


There are three Dharma Sessions known as the Three Great Entrances every year, namely the Great Winter Dharma Session, the Great Spring Dharma Ses-sion, and the Great Summer Dharma Session. The Great Winter Dharma Session starts on the 8th day of the eleventh Tibetan calendar month, the second Great Winter Dharma Session on the 16th day of the twelfth Tibetan calendar month. There is also the Inner Debate Session of Geshe Lharam and Tsokram in the twelfth Tibetan calendar month.


The Great Spring Dharma Session, second of the Three Great Entrances, begins on the 16th day of the third Tibetan calendar month. The annual examination and a 10-day special Dharma Session named Tsultrim Chothok takes place during the first Great Spring Dharma Session. The second Great Spring Dharma Session begins on the 1st day of the fifth Tibetan calendar month.


The Great Summer Dharma Session, the third of Three Great Entrances, starts on the 19th day of the sixth Tibetan calendar month during which the summer retreat and the ceremony of lifting restrictions at the conclusion of the retreat are observed. Sixteen Tsokchen Tsoklang and sixteen Datsang Tsoklang (a kind of plenary debate on the great philosophical treatises held in the prayer hall) take place during this Dharma Session. The Autumn Dharma Session in which the first half begins on the 1st day of the eighth Tibetan calendar month and the second half begins on the 25th day of the ninth Tibetan calendar month. The mid-year examinations take place in the second session.


Jang Gunchoe (a month-long Grand Winter Debate session) and the yearly Winter Dharma session on the Collections of Reasoning and Maitreya’s Teachings take place in the eleventh Tibetan calendar month.

All khangtsens celebrate the Khangtsen Losar (New Year) begins from 20th day of the twelfth Tibetan calendar month and a session of night-long Lhamo prayer on the 29th day of the month.
There are also the Great Debate and conferences on the five major treatises and tantra, Inner and Outer Lingse Debate Sessions, the Great Debate Session of Geshe Lharam, Tsokram and others.


Administrative Departments
The monastery has the following departments and sections: Administration Of fice (Changzoe Khang), Gajang Educational and Cultural Society, a Student Council, a Board of Exams, Gajang School, Science Department, Library, Translation Department, Department of Tibetan Medicine and Astrology, Gajang Medical Society, Communal Kitchen, Department of Water Filtration, Guest House, restaurant, convenience shops, café, tailoring section, noodle section, Prayer House at Dharamsala, Tashi Khangsar in Nepal, Holiday Home and House of the Goddess Lhamo in Delhi. The monastery also has several Dharma centres in many foreign countries.


Main Staff-in-charge of Students’ Studies
The three head staff members in-charge of the students’ studies are the abbot who has overall responsibility for the affairs of the monastery, the disciplinary master who has the responsibility for the overall discipline of the monastery and the chanting master who leads the assembly in the prayer and ritual ceremo-nies. They are supported by the spiritual masters, assistant teachers or tutors, school principal, school teachers, lead teachers, khangtsen monitors, and staff of Gajang Educational and Cultural Society.


Twelve Khangtsens
Gaden Jangtse Monastery has twelve khangtsens (monastic houses) namely Lubum, Tsawa, Samlo, Hardong, Serkong, Tehor, Gyalrong, Dhora, Gowo, Pha-ra, Kongpo, and Dranye khangtsen.


Staff and Personnel
The monastery has more than 200 members under the leadership of the abbot, the disciplinary master and the chanting master. Other key staff members include Lama Shunglepa and the directors of the various departments.


There are also numerous staff members working in Tibet, India, Nepal, Bhutan, and other countries as abbots of monasteries, primary school teachers, chairman and committee members of Jang Gunchoe (Winter Debater Session), Great Ge-luk Exam manager, committee members of Geluk International and Geluk Moniam Festival, committee member of Densum Hotel at Dharamsala, editors at Literary Unit, Lama Nyamdrel committee members, local assembly personnel, members of Regional Tibetan Freedom Movement, members of the Election Commission and many others.

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